Friday, November 27, 2009

I Tried, I Really Did

I love cables. I think they are beautiful and clever and sophisticated and interesting. I've wanted to knit something with cables for a while that's more than just your standard 2 over 2, but haven't found anything that I like, that will like me (the whole pregnancy body-image thing is getting to me- lame), and that I have time to knit (the holidays are, after all, here). So, I thought I would knit a little cabled vest for Bobby. It seemed the way to go since I only had one color and it was pretty solid and would make for mind-numbing repetition if I had done stockinette or garter stitch.

Yesterday, I found two patterns I liked in the stitch dictionaries, but then didn't really dig either of them when I knit the swatches. I'm actually rather impressed with myself that I knit a swatch not only once but twice. Impressed and relieved, because I learned something that I would have hated to learn in three weeks when I was crying about this unfinished vest: my true knitting love is color work.

I don't entirely know why, but it seems so fun to knit and interesting to look at and so full of wonderful possibilities. You can see (and check) your progress at every row, every stitch even (though that would slow down your knitting considerably). I had thought about trying to get a skein or two to compliment this vest and thus feed my insatiable appetite for color knitting, but couldn't quite justify it. And, without really thinking about it, I put myself on a yarn diet. A really strict one actually, and I've made it almost the entire month of November without buying yarn (for myself, anyway, I don't count the yarn I buy other people). It wasn't the best move given the timing of the holidays, but I'm sure my budget will appreciate the break.

My mom came through (without knowing it at the time) and gave me 4 skeins of a yarn that is the same weight and fiber and a wonderful complimentary red color for the grey-blue. I picked out some patterns from Simply Socks by Anna Zilboorg (my signed copy, because I took a class with her at Sock Summit and think she's wonderful). Armed with 5 stitch patterns, a copy of Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns (which I'm using for the vest pattern) I am designing him a little Turkish Christmas vest. I'm more excited than I can really say.

I tried to make the cabling plan work. I am going to keep trying; but right now, color is where my heart is.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Evening

As I'm typing this post we're at my parents' house. Bobby is downstairs with Bob, Papa and Aunt Aubrey (whose name comes out something like "Aubra" but close enough) playing with something that clinks like glass, but I'm sure it isn't. I brought along some knitting since I can usually snag some time in between his rounds with other more interesting people he doesn't see everyday.

Sure enough I was able to finish the next step on my mom's Christmas stocking. Upside: it's done and done pretty well if I say so myself. Downside: it was only one row, took a while, but was finished within 30 minutes of me actually sitting down to do it and I left the rest of the directions at home. ARGH!

Somewhere in trying to remember the pecan pie, potatoes, salad, drinks, Bobby's monitor, chair, diapers (had to restock the bag, something about all books and no diapers) my computer bag (thought I'd try to get some novel writing done, hasn't happened), extra yarn in case I finished the stocking (hopeful thinking there) and other stuff I can't remember that meant I had to make three trips in from the car I forgot the pattern. Go figure...

It did mean, though, that I was able to look through the stitch dictionaries I did remember and try swatching for the vest I'd like to make Bobby for Christmas. It's a blue sport weight yarn that Bobby picked out himself. Completely honest, we went into the store walked up to the display of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport and he picked it out. Then, he picked another skein of the same color, then again. He also carries it around whenever he finds it in my yarn reorganizing moments and carried it around all this morning as I tried to pack our stuff. So, really, he likes it.

I'd like to do some sort of cabled vest, but the pattern I picked out was vetoed by the fact that it would probably have encircled my little boy's underweight chest. Twice. Okay, that's a little bit hyperbolic, but it was a bit much. Even I had to admit it after I really looked at it and figured out rough gauge sizes. But I do love it and will be knitting something with it at some point in my life!

I swatched with a different stitch pattern that's nice, but I don't think it's going to work. Can't say why exactly, but it just isn't speaking to me. The fact that it's yarn and shouldn't be speaking is beside the point. So back to the drawing board. And also back to the family. Bobby has moved on to begging whipped cream off people's pie.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Problem With Voids

You get stuck in one and it just wants to keep sucking you back in. It sees how full your life is and wants a little bit of that for itself and before you know it weeks and weeks have passed and you've been spending it in a sort of holding pattern. At least, that's what it looks like to the outside world. Fact is, we've been up to a lot. When my students ask for make-up work I always give them a little more work than the original assignment. So, this is my attempt to make-up for the amazing amount of nothingness that has been emanating from my little corner of life!

Bobby was a dinosaur for Halloween. He loved his costume.

Even in character he maintained his high hygiene standards.

He is enjoying his new hat, finished just in time for the ridiculously cold weather we've been having lately.

He decided he loved grapes just in time for me to discover that they are a choking hazard, and we shouldn't be letting him eat them whole.

He also seems to thoroughly enjoy pears, but I suspect they would also present the same choking hazard that apples do. Again, just as we find something he'll really dig into, it's considered somewhat off-limits.

He discovered the light on the camera and squinted in the face of the glaring orange of it. (He's always had a flair for the dramatic.)

And then he "smiled" in an eerily Calvinesque way.

He discovered and mastered velcro after dinner one night.

He tried on Bob's boots. (On a separate note, he has started calling Bob "Bob" instead of "Da-da" so I plan to make a more concerted effort to call Bob "Daddy" in front of Bobby. Even though it's hilarious when in the middle of the night you hear an insistent "Boh! Boh!" He has trouble with ending sounds...)

He helped put away tea in my basket of hot drink mixes and did an amazing job of getting them all organized just so. He's a tad bit anal like that. I'm working on trying to appreciate this quality.

And, finally, he supervised the transformation of our closet from this empty room (which was an improvement in itself)

to this. He offers tours any time and likes to put people outside, and slide the door closed while saying, "Bye-bye!" He also walks around pointing to our clothes and explaining whose is whose and which hangers he helped to place.

He's been super busy, his vocabulary is expanding and we're just trying to keep up with him! Sometimes literally. He's been working on running as well, and he's so fast I can't always catch him and taking a picture is pointless. But I wish I could explain the hilarious, wonderful way he runs down the hall with his head back a little bit, hair floating around and bobbing with his steps, trusting fully to the little rubber grips on his socks and his own improving physical abilities. He also usually vocalizes as he runs, so it's the whole package of experience for him.

He's also been sleeping through the night at least twice a week. It's been amazing. Truly, wonderfully amazing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lost to the Void, But Back Again

There were two weeks in my life that just sort of disappeared. I'm not entirely certain where they went. I think it had something to do with being eaten by end of quarter grades, parent conferences, home renovation drama, Bobby illness, Halloween and the cutest little dinosaur ever (pics later), lack of sleep, errands, the start of November and NaNoWriMo, the start of a new school quarter, and just life in general.

With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starting I've also been experimenting with ways to procrastinate on writing, like cooking a pot roast for the first time ever (overall successful, but far too much garlic for my taste) and then trying to make chicken kiev. Not totally successful, but worth the try. Tonight we had errands that kept us very busy, so my plan (baked Macaroni & Cheese) didn't work out, but it's on the menu for Saturday. So, new recipes and fun eating. Bobby, of course, refuses all meat, but I have high hopes for Saturday.

As I said, Bobby has been sick with something. It just congestion in his upper lungs, I think. I've taken him to the hospital twice and twice been assured his lungs sound, "great!" And the last time she actually said he had, "good breath sounds." So that makes my asthmatic hyper-sensitive-to-breathing-issues self feel better. We have another appointment for Monday because despite the fact that he is taller, not necessarily skinnier that I can tell, feels heavier, and is eating more and more, the scale says he has gained no weight since he was 12 months old. I say it's a liar, they say to keep a food log. So we're recording every grape and goldfish he consumes, measuring his intake of milk in ounces, and cringing when we have to add things like "3 french fries" or "1 fruit loop" to the list. Well, I cringed. Not sure how Bob felt about it. We'll see how that goes.

The other big news that I've been holding out on because honestly it doesn't seem entirely real to me yet, is that I'm pregnant. We're excited, but my memory of being pregnant with Bobby leans more on the looming belly constant moving side, and while my belly is certainly more there (I've caught a few sly glances from students, but so far it just looks like I've been hitting the donuts a bit too hard) it's too early to feel movement. The ultrasound today, though, showed lots of it so I'm sure this little one will be kicking me in the ribs in no time!

With Bobby's pregnancy we had lots of "scares" from early warnings about miscarriage to markers for chromosome abnormalities to pre-term labor. It was, to put it mildly, a bit of an emotionally wild ride. I'm hoping things will be more even keel with this one, though we've had a fun little "scare" (though I hate in some ways to call it that) early on with this one. I went for my first prenatal appointment and thought I was about 10 weeks along. They put me at almost 11 weeks, but they had to adjust Bobby's due date back so I wasn't too concerned. I did get concerned though when the midwife was examining me and said with wide excited eyes, "Wow. You're measuring really big. I mean, I can feel your uterus up here." She went over to her table, grabbed the tape measure looked something up on a chart, came back, measured the height of my uterus, went back, then said, "Yeah, you're measuring between 15 and 16 weeks. Wow. Do you feel something there when you bend over?" She said it could be that I was further along than I thought, which I knew wasn't possible given when I had a positive test, or that I had a lot of fluid, or it was just a second pregnancy thing, or there was more than one...

This entire conversation made me feel so much better about eyeing my maternity clothes a full two months earlier than I had even bought any with Bobby, but the whole possibly more than one baby thing kind of totally freaked me out. She had me schedule an ultrasound right away which revealed ONE little ten week old baby (The exceptionally easy to see and clumped up umbilical cord made my heart skip a beat though). Apparently this one just needs lots of room. That's what I'm going with after seeing all of the stretching and moving going on in there today!

I'm hoping by Christmas to know whether we're having a boy or a girl (the tech today took a guess, but said it's really a big question mark until the later ultrasound) and I'm not going to tell my students until one of them asks. I think it'll be sort of funny to watch their faces until then.